San Diego County Regional Airport Authority Soars

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AT A GLANCE

Problem:

San Diego County Regional Airport Authority needed to implement productivity enhancements and workflow improvements in its performance management system– a collection of manual processes that did not meet the needs of the organization.

Challenges:

  • Move from a paper-based performance management system to an automated solution that would supply real-time data for analysis.
  • Enable the organization to shift from an anniversary-based approach for performance appraisals to a focal [common] review date for all unrepresented employees.
  • Decrease managerial time spent preparing performance reviews.
  • Increase the number of on-time performance reviews.

Solution:

A smooth transition to automated performance management with SilkRoad Performance delivered significant benefits, cost reduction, and productivity to the Airport Authority.

Results:

  • Fulfilled the Airport Authority’s strategic objective to shift from anniversary-based performance evaluations to a standard yearly date – with a substantial reduction in managerial workload.
  • 50 percent reduction in managerial time spent on appraisals.
  • Real-time metrics about employee performance – scoring and goal achievement – are delivered to executives.
  • On-time performance reviews increased from 80 percent to 98 percent.

BACKGROUND

Managing the day-to-day functions of an airport is a complex balancing act involving operations in a vital, fast-paced, and constantly changing setting. The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority takes this responsibility seriously, providing a safe, secure, quality-oriented, highly efficient transportation environment. Within its charter as a special district of government, the Airport Authority also plans for all future aviation needs and serves as the region’s Airport Land Use Commission to protect public health and safety of 16 county airports.

“Customer service comes first,” is a fundamental value of the Airport Authority. To meet its high standards for customer service, the organization also holds values of maintaining an informed, productive, diverse, enthusiastic workforce, as well as requiring continuous learning and personal involvement as employee job responsibilities. Performance appraisals of its employees must be organized, efficient and consistent to maintain the maximum standard of excellence for the area’s airports. Furthermore, metrics on goal achievement and workforce performance must be kept up-to-the-minute.

Recently the Airport Authority has received accolades for excellence for its efforts in sustainable technology in airport lighting and in energy and environmental design from the American Society of Civil Engineers and the U.S. Green Building Council. These are a few among many accolades the organization receives for its high performance. As an award-winning organization, the Airport Authority recognizes that continued success rests on a strong set of core values around employee motivation. The organization’s performance systems must foster an informed, productive, and enthusiastic workforce.

CHALLENGES

The Airport Authority needed to sustain and build upon a high-performing workforce, as well as obtain timely status reports on employee evaluations and achievement. Yet, the organization was at a crossroads concerning performance management.

The Airport Authority recognized that their paper-based system was not aligned with core values and business goals; nor did the system support the efficiency the organization demanded. The Airport Authority faced its first major challenge in shifting performance appraisals from an anniversary-based approach to a common or focal process for all employees. Executive management recognized that a common approach would enable managers to better align employee performance with business outcomes. Yet, there was also a concern that a common approach might put excessive pressure on managers, especially those with many employees. Clearly, the organization aimed to have managers and the talent team spend less time on performance appraisals and allocate more time back to the organization for other strategic tasks. This required a shift in focus from executing a process to achieving an efficient quality-oriented dialogue, which is another organizational value.

The Airport Authority also wanted to address the issue of improving on-time performance reviews. With a paper-based process, the rate of on-time performance reviews was 80 percent. Management sought a substantial improvement in this area.

What’s more, the organization wanted real-time data on performance—scoring and goal achievement—that a manual system could not supply. Executive management held meetings to discuss performance, but their information was paper-based, not aggregated, and missing real-time metrics.

SOLUTION

To shift to a common appraisal date and an automated system, The Airport Authority first held focus groups with its managers to determine their concerns and the kind of solution that would meet their requirements. With that information in hand, the talent team decided to investigate further and looked at several solution providers. The Airport Authority decided that, after a competitive selection process included a review of numerous quality products, SilkRoad Performance’s was the right match for their needs: the talent team was particularly impressed with the full range of features SilkRoad Performance offered; they also liked the way SilkRoad Performance could integrate with SilkRoad Learning, which the organization was also evaluating.

With SilkRoad’s expert implementation team and SilkRoad Performance’s intuitive interface, the entire implantation was a snap.

The Airport Authority was particularly concerned about maintaining managerial productivity during the transition to a new software system and the change to a common appraisal cycle. The expert SilkRoad implementation team had SilkRoad Performance up and running quickly. Thanks to SilkRoad Performance’s intuitive user interface, managers began using the system almost immediately and enthusiastically.

RESULTS

The San Diego Airport Authority is extremely satisfied with SilkRoad Performance and has realized substantial benefits from the solution.

Transitioning to a Common Date, Savings in Process Efficiencies

SilkRoad Performance’s automated features enabled the Airport Authority to reduce managerial time spent on appraisals by 50 percent. For 57 managers, that translates to a significant reduction in cost: from $69,966 per year to $34,998. Productive managerial time is now allocated back to the organization. Best of all, even managers with many employees reduced their time spent preparing appraisals, all while moving to a common approach; any lingering concerns about a bumpy transition were quickly dispelled.

“Thanks to SilkRoad Performance’s efficiency and intuitive interface, we quickly reduced our cycle time for appraisals in half. This software solution totally helped us ‘re-engineer’ our workflow process.”

Delivering Real-Time Metrics for Analysis

With SilkRoad, real-time metrics about employee performance— scoring and goal achievement—are delivered to executives in meetings. Because the Airport Authority now uses a common date for reviews, executive management can easily compare employees’ performance and see that ratings are fair and consistent. The organization also has a more nimble approach, making it easy to fine-tune processes and fix any issues that arise. As a result, current data on employee performance supports the Airport Authority’s strong mandate and drive for excellent customer service.

Increasing On-Time Performance Appraisals

Now, fully 98 percent of performance appraisals are completed on time, as compared to 80 percent before SilkRoad was implemented. In addition, because quarterly progress conversations between supervisors and employees are also tracked, throughout the year the organization can validate that productive dialogue is now occurring between supervisors and employees. Without a doubt, SilkRoad Performance helped align the organization’s goal for a motivated, productive workforce with an automated solution that supports best practices in talent management. Mission accomplished.

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